Slow Knowledge


Self-sustainability is a state of being in which the basic needs of an individual or a family can be fulfilled based on their own sources, without outer help. Self-sustaining entities make themselves independent of money, global economy and employers. This idea has emerged repeatedly in the modern history of mankind – see David Thoreau’s Walden – On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1854), which gives insight into withdrawal into nature from the maiming impact of civil society. In addition, numerous other examples could be mentioned where individuals or complete communities withdrew from industrialised society to reach self-sufficiency by producing all raw materials and products for themselves and their families using traditional methods. Withdrawal does not only mean independence but also progression – through building a harmonious relationship with nature, one can also develop spiritually. Traditional methods of producing do not exploit nature the way industrial agriculture and livestock farming do. Self-sustainability can also be realised in an urban environment: by baking our own bread, by using chemical free sanitary and cleaning products, by drying, preserving or pickling fruits and vegetables, or by sewing our own clothes.